The future is uncertain for disabled and deaf artists in Dundalk after The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon withdrew funding for a major cross border grant scheme.
The Arts and Disability Awards Ireland (ADAI) scheme has benefited dozens of disabled and deaf artists, allocating 272,109 Euros (£224,163) to 85 artists in Ireland since its inception.
The decision was revealed in a letter to Chris Ledger, Chief Executive of the Arts and Disability Forum (ADF) which has managed the scheme on behalf of both Arts Councils since the year 2000.
The ADF received the news from the Acting Head of Arts Participation of the Arts Council of Ireland. The Council’s letter stated that, as a result of an 11% reduction in its own funding, it has decided to explore alternative ways of meeting the needs of the arts and disability sector in Ireland.
Ms Ledger thanked the Arts Council of Ireland for its support over the years, adding that the scheme had been valuable in promoting the careers of disabled and deaf artists.
She said: “Of course we understand the pressures on funders but it is sad that the scheme is ending. The ADAI programme has been extremely valuable in providing dedicated year-round support for disabled and deaf artists who are on a professional career path. It has enabled them to compete in a very tough market.
She continued “Artists from both sides of the border who have received ADAI bursaries have gone on to win awards, commissions, recording or publishing deals and major grants.
The funding loss is not about supporting us as an organisation; the ADAI funding wasn’t about us! It levelled the playing field and enabled talented artists to overcome barriers that they face simply because they happen to be disabled or deaf.